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Title: Superconducting order parameter in nonmagnetic borocarbides RNi₂B₂C (R=Y, Lu) probed by point-contact Andreev reflection spectroscopy

We report on the measurements of the superconducting order parameter in the nonmagnetic borocarbides LuNi₂B₂C and YNi₂B₂C. Andreev conductance spectra are obtained from nanoscale metallic junctions on single crystal surfaces prepared along three major crystallographic orientations: [001], [110], and [100]. The gap values extracted by the single-gap Blonder-Tinkham-Klapwijk model follow the theoretical predictions as a function of temperature and magnetic field and exhibit a small anisotropy with no indication of proposed gap nodes along the [100] and [010] directions. These observations are robust and reproducible among all the measurements on two different sets of LuNi₂B₂C crystals and one set of YNi₂B₂C crystals. We suggest that the possible gap nodes in the [100] direction may be masked by two effects: different gap anisotropy across multiple Fermi surfaces, as reported in the recent photoemission spectroscopy, and the large tunneling cone. Our results provide a consistent picture of the superconducting gap structure in these materials, addressing the controversy particularly in the reported results of point-contact Andreev reflection spectroscopy.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review. B, Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 83; Journal Issue: 10; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2016-12-23 17:20:25; Journal ID: ISSN 1098-0121
American Physical Society
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States